Disney World adjusts housekeeping policy in wake of Las Vegas attack


From no-fly zones, to unprecedented safety checks, when it comes to guest safety, over the years Disney has been known to go to extremes few others are willing to go. Now, their latest move looks to be a signal for the future of the industry.

In a move directly related to safety, the resort has begun rolling out a shift to remove all "Do Not Disturb" signs, replacing them with "Room Occupied" signs. Also noted on the signs is language that states "staff reserve the right to enter your room for any purposes including, but not limited to, performing maintenance and repairs or checking on the safety and security of guests and property."

Disney World staff will only enter a room after knocking and announcing that they are entering the room. Previously staff were not able to enter a room if a "Do Not Disturb" sign was placed on the door. Staff are now required to enter the room at least once per day even if a guest refuses housekeeping.

After the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas, the move to require daily check-ins of each occupied room is one that has been catching on throughout the industry. The gunman had a "Do Not Disturb" sign on his hotel doors for three days straight, giving him time to prepare for the attack that killed 58 and injured 546 people. Thousands of rounds of ammunition and more than 20 firearms were recovered from the shooter's hotel room.

In the wake of the attack, numerous Vegas resorts have changed their policy to include more frequent room checks. Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been a vocal proponent of tighter security at resorts. "If a room goes on do not disturb for more than 12 hours, we investigate," Wynn stated in an interview to Fox News," he didn’t let anyone in the room for two or three days. That would have triggered a whole bunch of alarms here, and we would have, on behalf of the guest, of course, investigated for safety, and it would have been a provocative situation.”

Boyd Gaming also updated their policy, requiring staff to check a room every other day.

This is just the latest safety initiative for the hospitality industry. Last year voters in Seattle approved new rules requiring hotels to equip staff with electronic panic whistles or iPads, and to keep records of guests who have been accused of abuse. In October the Chicago City Council voted to require hotels to have similar panic buttons. The American Hotel and Lodging Association is in favor of the panic buttons, but has remained mostly quiet on the appropriate amount of time between well-being checks for guest-occupied rooms.

At Disneyland Paris, a potential terrorist attack was thwarted in January 2016 when luggage was scanned at a hotel entrance. The bag included two guns, a box of ammunition, and a copy of the Koran. Disneyland Paris increased its security when it reopened in the days after the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.

Walt Disney World hotels still do not scan bags at hotels or Disney Springs. Guests do pass through metal detectors when entering the theme parks, but bags are only visual checked with no x-ray style machines like those that blocked the potential attack in Paris. The metal detectors were rolled out in unison at Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal resorts all on the same day in December of 2015 but each resort has approached their use differently. No major local resort has bag scanners for guests checking into the hotels.

The Contemporary (including Bay Lake Tower), the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian implemented the new room policy this past weekend with the entire resort expected to transition to the new policy within the next few months.